Name: Chance Adams
DOB: August 10, 1994
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. What makes Adams so good beyond having four quality pitches is that his game's foundation is predicated on a special fastball. It's not only a plus pitch velocity-wise, sitting mostly from 94-96 mph and topping out near 100 mph on occasion, but it's the stellar command of his hard fastball that makes it act like a plus-plus offering. He can throw it where he wants it and do so with elite power. It isn't very deceptive and there isn't a whole lot of movement on the fastball either but few can match his kind of power and even fewer can combine that with his above average command.
Other Pitches. Adams has come incredibly far in a very short period of time with his secondary pitches. He entered the professional ranks with a true wipeout slider, one that sits 85-88 with excellent late, breaking action that sweeps across the plate and just like the fastball he can command it in the zone with the best of them. It's a big-time strikeout pitch and the same can be said of his now above average curveball. It wasn't all that long ago that he began working on the pitch and now it's a true knee-bending power curveball that sits 82-85 mph. The command has steadily improved too and has a little more ceiling left in it, giving it long-term plus potential. The same can be said of his rapidly developing changeup too. In fact, as good a season as he had last year, the fact is the numbers could have been better had he not force-fed throwing so many changeups early in the season in the name of developing the pitch. It shows excellent fade and depth now, and like his other pitches he can command it very well in and out of the zone. He even throws it against right-handed batters now and it can be nearly as effective, he has that much confidence in it now.
Pitching: Adams entered his first full professional season last year with one major question mark -- could the velocity hold up start after start to the rigors of a long season? The answer was an emphatic yes. Not only did he sustain his power but it actually improved as the season went along, averaging right around 94 mph during his time in Tampa and north of 95 mph in Trenton later in the year. That's bad news for opposing batters considering the excellent fastball command and the fact that he can throw three other above average or better secondary pitches for strikes in any count and at any point. And that's the point lost on pundits -- Adams, while certainly a power pitcher, is actually more of a command pitch-ability guy than mere gasser. He has also proven to be extremely coachable in his brief professional career [the rapid development of his changeup and curveball are proof positive of that] and he is all business on the mound, showing very few emotions. He isn't tall but he is very, very strong, and has the look of a durable innings eater.
Projection. We mentioned a year ago that with special elite fastball velocity and above average command, as well as two breaking pitches that flash plus potential on any given day, given his fire-hydrant build, he conjured up images of a young Craig Kimbrel type. All of that still rings true today. He has all the ingredients not only of a potential big league closer but of the All Star variety too. A little less than two years into his professional development, however, that appears to be more his floor than ceiling!! That's because the changeup has rapidly morphed itself into one of the better offerings and he has shown he can hold his power [and really increase it some too] over the course of a long season without affecting his command either. In fact, if one can take out the obvious height differences [and hair length differences] between the two, Adams has the look of a smaller version of Mets' ace Noah Syndergaard as a high velocity, above average command guy whose rapidly developing changeup could make him difficult to face even two to three times through a lineup. And like Syndergaard he has a front-half of the rotation kind of ceiling that appears to be more fact than fiction. He gives the Yankees plenty of role options, all of which are high impact.
ETA. 2018. Adams is arguably big league ready right now but, not a member of the 40-man roster, the Yankees can afford to take their time with him. As good as he is and as far as he has come he still has barely 160 professional innings under his belt. He's starting the season back where he finished [in Double-A] and should get ample time in Triple-A Scranton later in the year. He could theoretically get his big league feet wet at some point this season but it appears the Yankees may be content with giving him one more full minor league season before unleashing him at the big league level next year.